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Why do people web?

Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang posted The Three Web Activities: Task, Project, and Business Programs which I agree from the web management perspective. I think when building websites it is important to consider the 3 reasons users come to a website. My response to Jeremiah Owyang:

I agree with your breakdown from a web management perspective. The IT guy, the techie, the web programmer should be very focused on The Task, The Project, and The Business Program. With[out] those, the website fails to function.

I have a list of 3 which is about that function. My list is derived from the end user experience rather than the web management side. I address this list with my clients when they are trying to make decisions about their webite:
1. Information
2. Utility
3. Entertainment

That order is important.

People go to the web first for information (e.g. I want to call company X and need their phone number). I am astounded at the number of business[es] that make it difficult to contact them.

People go to the web secondly for utility (e.g. “I want to make travel arrangements” or “I need to do some online banking/bill paying”)

People go to the web thirdly for entertainment (e.g. “going to watch the television show I missed last night,” “watch some youtube,” or “play some games”).

I find businesses mistakenly want to build backwards thinking that if they first build something entertaining that will draw their audience in. Then they can provide utility (often associated with profit). And lastly, if they ever get around to it, information.

People will argue that entertainment should be first in the list but that is a delusion. We may spend more time on entertainment but most people go to the web for information first.

“Social media” is changing the equation slightly. Services like Twitter provide information, utility and entertainment in one fell swoop.

Links referenced:
Are you in The Converation?
Put @RedCross in your Twitter